Posted: 14th August 2020
12th August 2020
To whom it may concern
Why Oldham Peace and Justice are Campaigning against Elbit here in Oldham
We are Oldham Peace and Justice, a collective of individuals from Oldham and the surrounding areas. We work to stop the injustices of war to campaign against and the UK arms trade. One of our key aims is to close Elbit –Ferranti Oldham because of its role in the manufacture of arms and to look instead encouraging conversions using the skills sets present in the workforce to the greener and more socially useful technology.
Monthly vigils started a year ago, we have held monthly demonstrations outside your factory Elbit Ferranti, Cairo Mill on Greenacres Road.
This month we have decided instead to present this letter to the staff of Elbit Ferranti to explain why we have been doing these and why we will continue. We will be sharing this with the local press.
What motivated us? We saw the bombing of Gaza on the news in 2014 and the destruction it left behind. The people of Oldham took to the streets in their hundreds and a huge petition was presented to Parliament. The Hermes 900 drone was first used in the Summer of 2014 which saw 50 days, labelled “Protective Edge”, of continuous bombing carried out by the IDF which resulted in 2,204 Gazan Palestinians, including 500 children under the age of 18 and 180 babies and children under the age of 6, being killed.
Hermes drones were also used in the so-called Pillar of Defence in 2012 with 167 Gazan Palestinians killed in 7 days. In addition, Cast Lead, 27th December 2008 to 18th January 2009, saw 1,398 Gazan Palestinians lose their lives and included the illegal use of white phosphorus in the bombing of houses, United Nation facilities and humanitarian-aid warehouses.
This might have happened thousands of miles away but the people who were profiting from it and responsible, were in our own backyard.
Equally, we cannot ignore the current situation in what is going in Jammu Kashmir and its connection to Elbit Ferranti Oldham. India’s Narendra Modi unilaterally revoked Article 370 on 5th August 2019. 8 million Kashmiris lost their Right to Self Determination and a lockdown was imposed preventing access to education, livelihoods, entertainment and healthcare. Unarmed protestors have been shot by shotgun pellets with many losing their eyes.
India imports 50% of its weapons from Israel. The Adani Elbit UAV Complex, which is in Hyderabad, is a joint venture between the Adani Group and Elbit Systems. This will allow the manufacturing of Israeli drones in India. The result will be that the drones that were used in the bombing of Gaza will now for the first time be mass produced in India.
Adani Elbit Group also purchased a facility in Gwalior that will manufacture small arms, like the Galil Sniper rifle and Tavor Assault Rifle. Elbit Systems has shares in the Adani Group. The weapons have been used against the Palestinians and it is only a matter of time that it will be used in Jammu Kashmir.
Elbit Systems assists in gross violation of International and Human Rights by providing technology and weapons to make this possible. Such a company should not operate in Oldham or even in the United Kingdom. We cannot ignore Elbit Systems complicity.
While Elbit Ferranti continues to contribute to the weapons systems outlined above with direct links to the fate of Palestinians and the people of Jammu Kashmir, we will continue our protests.
We would of course welcome the opportunity to discuss with any of your staff ideas for arms conversion – we got a glimpse of what could be possible when companies quickly responded to the need for respirators at the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic. We are also happy to expand on any of the themes above. You can email us on [email protected]
Yours in peace
OLDHAM PEACE AND Justice